For years, a San Francisco Bay Area woman with breast cancer had been seeking information about the causes and treatment of her disease. She consistently encountered an unresponsive group of government agencies and other organizations who provided inadequate, superficial information, not hard data. She grew angry and shared that anger with other women who had metastatic breast cancer. In the summer of 1990, they formed Breast Cancer Action (BCA), a grassroots organization of breast cancer survivors and their supporters.
The woman’s name was Elenore Pred, and Breast Cancer Action, the organization she helped to found, now has concerned supporters around the country. BCA has received national media attention for being at the forefront of the breast cancer activist movement. Because of BCA and other advocacy organizations, the public has grown more aware of the grim statistics of the breast cancer epidemic.
For too many years, breast cancer was considered each woman’s private trauma instead of the national public health emergency it is. Elenore Pred and her colleagues refused to let that happen any longer. As Elenore said, “This is not an individual woman’s personal tragedy; it is a tragedy for all women and together we have the power to change things.” Since Elenore Pred’s death in October 1991, BCA has continued the work she began.
BCA is a grassroots group: ordinary people who, by educating themselves on the facts and the issues related to breast cancer, have empowered themselves and others to create needed change. BCA works with in coalition with other organizations to bring about important policy changes on the local, state and federal levels.
As a result of our visioning and strategic planning process, Breast Cancer Action has identified three strategic priority areas on which to focus our work.
- Advocating for more effective and less toxic breast cancer treatments by shifting the balance of power in the Food and Drug Administration away from the pharmaceutical industry and toward the public interest.
- Decreasing involuntary environmental exposures that put people at risk for breast cancer.
- Creating awareness that it is not just genes, but social injustices - political, economic, and racial inequities - that lead to disparities in breast cancer outcomes.